Monday, January 25, 2010

The Art of Making Garlic Bread

Like so many children of the 70's I was exposed to one type of garlic bread: thick slices of white bread slathered with margarine (butter if we were lucky) and topped with garlic salt and dried parsley flakes before being run under the broiler for a quick browning. This usually resulted in garlic bread that was soft on the bottom, too crunchy on the top and overpowered with pungent dried garlic flavor. There didn't seem to be a lot of thought to it; the bread didn't matter much, the garlic didn't matter much and the whole thing was made as more of an afterthought.

When I married and started making my own garlic bread, I was guilty of using the same method and turned out some not-so-good garlic bread in my time. Fast forward to post-culinary school and I still wasn't very good at it. I changed the granulated garlic or garlic salt to the real deal, but I still used butter and browned the bread the same way.

Finally, I settled on a garlic bread that my whole family loves and devours. Rather than using fresh garlic - which can be too spicy when it's not fully cooked - or butter, I switched things up by using olive oil and roasted garlic with a bit of good cheese to top it all off.

Here's my method - see if it doesn't turn into a favorite in your own home.

Start with roasted garlic. One whole head wrapped in foil or brushed with olive oil and placed in a small dish and roasted in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until soft.

The bread. We have local bakeries that make very good Italian hoagie rolls. I like this size for individual servings. Four rolls will give you eight good-sized servings.

Slice the bread horizontally.

Brush the cut sides of the bread with good extra virgin olive oil.

The roasted garlic. I use this on one of two ways; mashed together with Kosher or sea salt and then spread on the bread, or spread directly on the bread and then salted. Either way works well.

Roasted garlic spread atop the olive oil.

Sprinkled with sea salt.

Topped with a good quality cheese - not too much, you're not making pizza! This is a six cheese Italian blend - Asiago, Provolone, Parmesan, Romano, Fontina and Mozzarella.

Lay the halves on a parchment lined baking sheet and pop into a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Baking them rather than broiling surrounds the bread with heat and crisps up the outside and melts the cheese without leaving the bottom too soft. Cut into pieces for service.


Elle said...

Ooooh yeeeeah...that's the stuff! It looks so good--I've never roasted garlic for bread, but I really should try it.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

You brought back a few memories of my old garlic bread days. I remember in college my dorm-mates and I making a spaghetti dinner with garlic bread made not just with garlic salt but also on the D'Italiano bread, which was more like Wonder bread except it was thicker and covered with sesame seeds.

Great minds think alike because I like to roast my garlic for garlic bread. I also like to moosh in some basil and then top the whole thing with parmesan for a pesto-y kind of taste. said...

Oh hohoho, THAT'S the way to make gaharlic bread!

Elle, roasted garlic on bread, on top of crackers, by itself... is wonderful.

I just discovered cooking garlic cloves in chicken fat over medium low heat for 7 minutes, until their soft. Oh baby is that good. I ate the garlic like they were chocolate treats.

I used the garlic seasoned chicken fat to saute vegetables for baked potato night. That rocked, too.

I keep chicken fat rendered from roasted chicken and store it in the freezer. I only do this with pasture-raised chickens I get from a farmer in the next town. It's like a secret ingredient for some seriously good eats.

Anne Coleman said...

Dear Jill - if you were Jewish, you'd call that rendered chicken fat 'schmaltz'! I'll be doing a post on that in the near future, too - very, very good stuff!

Short - that's gotta be some good bread!

Ginny said...

Someone turned me on to 'grilling' bagels by slicing them and putting them on a hot griddle on which butter had been slathered. Would this work with either butter or olive oil and chopped garlic browned in it before popping a sliced roll on it? You could season the garlic with your choice of spices and brown both top and bottom. I would omit the cheese. Doable?

Anne Coleman said...

You know, Ginny - I wonder. I used to make bagels the same way - back when toasters weren't made with wide slots. I still butter up muffins and 'grill' them.

I'm not sure if the garlic would burn, though?

kat said...

That looks so crunchy & perfect. We didn't even get the dried parsley flakes as a kid

Anonymous said...
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Admin said...

i imagine the garlic steals the flavor of cheese on top (mmm) i think i have to try it myself your recipe one time and share it with my family ^_^

btw. 1st time visit here

Anonymous said...

Looks great. I will try for sure.

Kash M said...

Great demo and step by step photos really helped. Can not wait to try this one. Thanks for sharing this recipe !

Anonymous said...

Now I'm going to have to try roasted garlic and don't know why I haven't used it before..and schmaltz rocks for so many things - especially chopped chicken livers but you have to watch it if you've got cholesterol problems.